How creativity works

On a ‘how do they make that’ television programme an item about the manufacture of golf balls was shown. Inevitably they came to the dimples on the ball and it was explained that these dimples make the ball fly twice as far as smooth balls that do not have them.

My wife then said something which demonstrated the creative process perfectly.

“Why don’t cars have dimples then?” she asked.

She had taken one idea and applied it to another idea in an unrelated area (the car). She had done that by observing a pattern and filling in the blanks. ‘Filling in the blanks’ are the new ideas, the new connections. This is how creativity works.

To answer her question, the dimples do not reduce drag, they affect the laminar flow of air which keeps the ball aloft for longer. As cars do not fly, this phenomenon is not applicable. And aircraft don’t use it either because the dimples would significantly weaken the structure of the wing.

But hey, nice idea.

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